Learn how to take stunning drink photos with these 8 tips & tricks! From the rule of odds to backlighting and adding human elements, these simple techniques will help you create beautiful and memorable photos. Get ready to capture your next amazing drink photo!
Photographing drinks can be a challenging task, but it’s also a lot of fun. Drinks can be very colorful and come in all sorts of unique glasses and vessels, making them a unique and exciting subject for photography. If you’re a food photographer looking to improve your drink photography skills, you’re in the right place!
In this article, I’ll share some tips and tricks that will help you take stunning drink photos.
1. Use the Rule of Odds
The rule of odds is a simple rule that states that objects arranged in odd numbers are more visually appealing than those arranged in even numbers. When photographing drinks, try placing them on the set in groups of three or five (usually not more for drinks, but you can test that, too!) to make them more visually appealing. This will also help create depth and texture in your photos, especially when you play with placing them at different distances from the camera.
To apply this rule to drink photography, consider arranging the drinks and the glasses in groups of three or five, creating triangles or diagonal lines in the composition. Doing so will make your photos more visually dynamic and engaging, especially when combined with different shapes and sizes of glasses or other props in the scene. You can also use this rule to create patterns or repetitions with the drinks and the glasses, adding a sense of rhythm and harmony to your photos.
2. Be Mindful of the Colors
Drinks come in a wide variety of colors, and you want to make sure that you’re capturing the true essence of the drink in your photos. Pay attention to the colors of the drink and the background. If the drink is dark, consider using a lighter background to make it pop. Conversely, if the drink is light, consider using a darker background.
When choosing the background for your drink photos, consider the color temperature and the contrast with the drink. For example, if you’re photographing a red cocktail, consider using a green or blue background to create a complementary contrast. On the other hand, if you’re photographing a white or clear drink, consider using a black or dark background to create a dramatic contrast. That’s not a rule by any means, but if your photo doesn’t work, it’s worth noting if there’s a problem with the color or brightness contrast. And here is where you can apply these tips.
You can also use props or decorations that match (or contrast) the colors of the drink, such as fruits, herbs, or flowers, to add texture and depth to your photos.
3. Backlight Your Photo
Backlighting is a great way to add depth and drama to your drink photos. Positioning your light source behind your drink can create a beautiful halo effect to make your drink photos stand out.
To backlight your drink photos, place your drink in front of a window or a light source and position your camera so that the drink is between the light source and the camera. This will create a natural backlight that will highlight the colors and shape of the drink, creating a beautiful ethereal effect. You can also use a reflector or a white card to bounce the light back onto the glass and fill in the shadows, creating a more balanced exposure.
4. Create a Frosted Effect
To create a frosted effect on your drink, simply spray a light mist of water on the outside of the glass before taking your photo. This will give your drink a beautiful, frosty appearance, making it look even more refreshing.
To create the frosted effect, use a spray bottle with water or a mix of water and glycerin, and spray a fine mist onto the outside of the glass. Be careful not to spray too much of the mixture since this can make the drink look messy. You can also use a paper towel or a Q-tip to wipe off any excess water or droplets from the glass. This technique works particularly well with cold or frozen drinks, such as iced tea, smoothies, or cocktails.
You can read more about creating a frosted effect here.
5. Use Artificial Ice
Using real ice in your drink can be tricky because it can melt quickly under the heat of the lights, especially when you’re working on cocktails in the summer. Which will give you a very short window for photographing the drink. Artificial ice, on the other hand, provides a more consistent and longer-lasting effect, making it perfect for drink photography.
Artificial ice comes in various forms, such as chunks or shards. You can get them in different materials, some of which will look more realistic than others. Before you purchase any artificial ice, I highly encourage you to read reviews!
6. Tell a Story
Every drink has a story, and your job as a photographer is to capture that story in your photos. Think about the context and the mood of the drink, and try to convey it through your composition, lighting, and props. Is it meant to be enjoyed on a hot summer day or to warm you up on a cold winter night? Is it a casual drink to share with friends or a special cocktail to celebrate a milestone?
To tell a story with your drink photos, consider the setting, the accessories, and the ambiance of your scene. For example, you can use a wooden table or a beach towel as a background for a casual vibe or a marble countertop or a velvet tablecloth for a more elegant look.
7. Add Human Element
Adding a human element to your drink photos can make them more relatable, engaging, and memorable. People love to see other people enjoying drinks, especially when they can imagine themselves in that situation. By including a hand in your photo, you can create a sense of connection between the viewer and the drink and make the image more inviting and personal.
As a one-man band, I often photograph myself holding the drink. If you do the same, make sure to set your camera on a timer and focus it on the spot where you’re going to hold the drink.
8. Capture Action
I love action! It always adds a fun element to any photo. Capturing the action of the drink, such as pouring, shaking, stirring, or splashing, can add a sense of movement and excitement to your photos and make them more exciting and lively
To capture the action of the drink, use a fast shutter speed and a burst mode to freeze the moment and capture multiple shots in a row.
I hope these tips and tricks will help you take stunning drink photos that will wow your audience and enhance your portfolio. So remember to practice, experiment, have fun with your photography, and share your best shots on social media and your website (cuz you never know who’s watching). Cheers to your success!